SOUTH BEND | LaPorte’s Josh Arndt is two-thirds of the way to repeating his diving sweep from a year ago.
Arndt, who won the sectional, regional and state diving titles as a junior, took home the Regional title again on Tuesday, finishing with a score of 562.85 to top the field at South Bend Riley.
“I like to come out, enjoy myself and give everyone something to watch,” Arndt said. “When I go into big meets, I have fun and enjoy myself, and if I hit my dives, I enjoy myself even more.”
Arndt’s victory qualified him for Saturday’s state finals in Indianapolis. Griffith’s Alex Rosales (3rd), Valparaiso’s Muyenda Burnett (4th), and Portage’s John Fannin (6th) also qualified for the state finals.
Munster’s Sean Cloghessy (10th) and Zach Cherogan (12th), Crown Point’s Sage Chiaro (9th) and Portage’s Brandon Crosby (11th) competed but fell short of qualifying for the state finals.
Rosales and Burnett will be making their second trip to the state finals, while Fannin is making his first.
Arndt came out of the gate quickly, with his score of 262.45 after the preliminary round being more than 35 points better than any of the other competitors. Arndt’s semifinal score of 401.15 would have qualified him for the state finals if he had not done his final three dives.
On his final dive, Arndt missed on a forward 3-and-1/2 tuck that has a degree of difficultly of 3.0, garnering scores of 4.5 and 5.0.
His final total was 83 points better than Mishawaka Marian’s Stephen Rice, who finished second.
“I missed more dives than I did at sectional, so there’s always room for improvement,” Arndt said. “Still, that is higher than my state score from last year.”
Rosales stood fifth after the semifinals, but came on to score 147.6 over his final three dives to finish in third. His final dive received a total score of 58.5 to finish with a 459.85 total score.
“My coach was telling me to take it easy on the board my last three dives, and I listened to him,” Rosales said. “When you fix one thing, everything else comes with it.”
Burnett stayed between second and fourth throughout the competition. He was fourth after the preliminaries and third after the semifinals before finishing fourth.
“It started off a little rough for me, but it was a pretty good meet,” Burnett said. “The scoring was hard. You had to stick your dives to make it out.”
Fannin’s finished with a total score of 394.65.
“I just focused on myself and not worrying about the score or anything because everything will land in place,” Fannin said.